The Golden State Warriors are set to begin a new era under recently-hired head coach Steve Kerr, and while a transition period is unavoidable, star player Stephen Curry appears determined to keep the Western Conference up-and-comer on track for a third straight playoff appearance in 2014-15.
Curry talked about the franchise's transition from Mark Jackson to Kerr on Thursday, and while the 26-year-old sharpshooter admitted that the move away from Jackson "came as a shock," he also backed up the front office and inspired confidence in his teammates and fans, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com):
There's no sugarcoating it—it was a weird, expedited situation that we didn't see coming. And guys are human. You have to be able to adjust to it and have some time to respond. That's kind of what happened. I think we'll be fine once we have a clear picture of what's going on next year.
Curry's response was brutally honest, but he also credited the organization in the very same breath:
One thing I can say about this organization, they want to win. Each decision is geared toward winning. That's something that flies well with a lot of players—that they're going to try to put us in the best position to win.
Curry went on to say his focus is on next season, a year in which the Warriors will attempt to reach the postseason for a third straight year for the first time since 1977:
As long as we're focused on winning and taking advantage of the roster we have and the opportunity we have with this window to try to continue to get better. I'm just looking forward to next year and getting back to making that happen. I haven't lost faith in that at all. As much as I supported Coach Jackson and loved everything about playing for him, I think they're about winning.
While Curry blossomed into an All-Star point guard under Jackson's watch, all indications are that he'll continue to progress under Kerr.
Curry has provedn himself as a lethal long-range shooter since entering the league back in 2009 (career 44 percent), but his ability to score in a variety of ways and create for others has sent him through the roof over the past two seasons. He averaged nearly seven assists per game in 2012-13 and dished out 8.5 per game this past season en route to earning NBA All-Star honors for the first time in his career.
|Warriors' Rise Under Mark Jackson|
|2012-13||47-35||.573||Lost in West semis|
|2013-14||51-31||.622||Lost in West first round|
But Curry has made an impact off the court as well, earning NBA Community Assist Award honors earlier this week, making his former coach very proud in the process:
Curry's accomplishments both on and off the floor speak to his leadership. While he doesn't come across as the most vocal player night after night, the former first-round draft pick certainly leads by example, and his latest response to the Warriors' decision to transition suggests the move is unlikely to rattle he and his teammates.
Although it will be awfully difficult for Golden State to continue its improvement in the win column in what's become a loaded Western Conference, there's no question the Warriors have the on-court leader in Curry and the pieces in place to continue to be a top-10 team in offense and defense in the years to come.
Adjusting from Jackson's system to a brand new one under Kerr will be no easy task for the Warriors, but Curry's reassuring comments and his ascent into stardom bode extremely well for Golden State ahead of 2014-15.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.